9 Ways to Construct a Safer, Kid-Friendly Bathroom

BY NANCY MATTIA ON JUNE 8TH, 2017

blog-image Experts suggest having a professional electrician install GFCI outlets in the bathroom to reduce the risk of electrical shock.

The bathroom takes on a new personality when you have babies and young children in the house. Suddenly, it’s a hazard zone, with danger lurking from tub to toilet. Fortunately, you can take precautions to protect your precious little ones before they get hurt. Here’s what you need to do to keep them safe.

1. Lock him out.

To prevent a child from getting into the bathroom during that nanosecond when you’re not looking, install a childproof lock on the doorknob or a hook-and-eye lock high up on the outside of the door at adult height. Be sure any interior door lock can be unlocked from the outside in case he inadvertently locks himself in.

2. Keep medications out of sight.

“Child-resistant caps are not ‘child-proof’ caps,” says Colleen Driscoll, executive director of International Association for Child Safety, “and children can defeat them.” That’s why it’s best to store medicines up high, out of sight and preferably in a locked cabinet. “Leaving medications on countertops can be dangerous. Pills often look like candy, and children like to imitate adults who might be taking a colorful pill.”

3. Beware of the toilet.

Water, even in a toilet bowl, fascinates youngsters. Keeping the toilet seat lid down when not in use and secured with a safety lock helps avoid accidents. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), young children can fall headfirst into a toilet and drown.

4. Regulate the water temperature.

Turn your hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less to reduce the risk of scalding a child’s delicate skin in the tub or sink. Test that the water feels warm, not hot, on your wrist or elbow. Consult a local plumber if you can’t get the temperature set safely.

5. Don’t leave a child alone in the tub.

If you walk out of the bathroom to get a towel or to answer your cell while giving your infant or toddler a bath, you’re putting her at risk for drowning, even in a few inches of water. Instead, have all necessities handy before starting the bath; if not, take the child with you when you walk out.

6. Buy no-slip mats.

“We encourage the use of full-length, nonslip rubber mats in the tub and on the floor and next to the tub to prevent falls,” Driscoll says. Avoid using small decals – they still leave slippery surfaces exposed. “Bath mats that do not have rubber backings slide all around and could even contribute to a fall. Mats should be slip-resistant.”

7. Keep wastebaskets free of dangers.

Think about all the “treasures” a child may find in the trash, such as used (but still sharp) razor blades and expired (but still potent) medications. “Even a tissue can be interesting to a curious toddler and pose a choking hazard,” Driscoll says. Don’t throw these things out in the bathroom or move the wastebasket to a locked cabinet.

8. Have an electrician install GFCI outlets.

GFCI, or “ground-fault circuit interrupter,” is an inexpensive devise that can lessen or stop the flow of electricity running through an appliance. “They should be installed in outlets near water sources, although we recommend that parents not leave items, such as a hair dryer or curling iron, plugged into an outlet,” Driscoll says. “Even though many bathroom outlets are high, parents shouldn’t assume that they’re out of the reach of children.” If your tot is playing with your plugged-in blow dryer and touches a metal faucet, for example, the GFCI will prevent him from getting severe electrical shocks.

9. Watch out for window-blind cords.

If you have windows in your bathroom, Driscoll recommends the cordless type to prevent the risk of strangulation.

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